Capabilities and Performance in Collective Marketing: The importance of learning to cope with agency dilemmas

Ton, G.; Flores, L.; Monasterios, R.; Yana, E.


This chapter focuses on the inherent challenges in collective action and the institutional arrangements or regulations that hold market-oriented farmer groups together. It operationalizes the measurement of the capacity to contain these inherent challenges by mapping the presence and effectiveness of internal rules and regulations, related to mechanisms of price-determination, payment systems, quality controls, task delegation, etc. Using data from 38 farmer organizations in Bolivia, we show that this capability is strongly correlated with the performance of the group. We illustrate the relevance of learning and experimentation to develop these capacities, and how the policy constrained room for maneuver to do so. We conclude with the importance of policies and legal frameworks that facilitate this search for effective solutions to agency dilemmas in collective marketing, and stress the importance of differentiating between market-oriented and community-oriented farmer organizations.